Interview with Lew Gossage Senior Vice President and General Manager of XanEdu
Distance-Educator.com: Mr. Gossage, online learning has had a dramatic growth in the past few years. How do you distinguish XanEdu from other companies that are offering technology solutions, programs and courses online?
Mr. Lew Gossage: XanEdu is a custom content provider for instructors to bring the real world into the classroom. Educators today wish to bring the most current information to their students in order to utilize the real world and their own views, as examples relevant to the subject area.
XanEdu provides the largest online vetted business case archive, including Harvard cases, along with thousands of premium quality journals, periodicals and newspapers for instructors to integrate into the classroom via the digital XanEdu CoursePack tool. XanEdu provides the ability to provide these materials digitally, in print or digital plus print through the campus bookstore or via our website’s ecommerce solution.
If we do not have the content in our archives, we are able to clear the copyright, scan the materials, and make them available online, in print, or both.
We also provide editorial services for the instructor to assist them in building the pack, or we build it for them. The instructor is also able to include their own comments or content in digital or print formats. We are also able to provide modules of our ReSearch Engines, that reflect the content of the pack and keep the pack alive by accessing new information on a daily basis whether the pack is digital, or in print, or both. For example, if business content is used along with cases, we would include the business module of our undergraduate ReSearch Engine. The student would be able to access up-to-date information regarding the company utilized as a example in the case.
Distance-Educator.com: What are CoursePacks and how do they fit into the spectrum of eLearning solutions?
Mr. Lew Gossage: CoursePacks are selected readings, articles, cases including chapters from textbooks and information from the instructor that in the past were simply produced in print. Sometimes CoursePacks are simply called Readers. The instructor wishes to have current customizable content that is germane to the course coverage. This is a $500 million market that is one of the fastest growing in the segment. XanEdu supplies content for the course, that is either supplemental, or is a textbook replacement product produced for, or by the instructor.
Distance-Educator.com: How does being a Division of ProQuest benefits faculty and students who use your products and services?
Mr. Lew Gossage: As a division of ProQuest Company, it means that we are not a dot com, but a unit of a larger information provider that is listed on the NYSE. It means that XanEdu is here to stay, as ProQuest is committed to developing solutions for the classroom as they have in the library market. It also allows us to leverage the existing content within the ProQuest databases and develop content silos that are relevant for use in the classroom. We are also able to leverage the technology and taxonomy that we have developed XanEdu and ProQuest.
Distance-Educator.com: Could you tell us more about ReSearch Engines? What databases are searched, and what users expect to find?
Mr. Lew Gossage: We have 3 versions of the ReSearch engines. The first one is the Undergraduate ReSearch engine which is divided into 10 segments across all disciplines. The second ReSearch engine is the MBA ReSearch Engine which is divided into 20 segments across the business discipline and includes the topics within the undergraduate version to allow for an instructor or student to see topics across all disciplines.
In other words, this allows for a cross functional interdisciplinary approach. The third ReSearch engine is the Education ReSearch engine that is intended to be used within the teacher training segment of the market. The 3 ReSearch engines contain over 35,000 topic trees that were developed by determining key
topics within textbooks and then developing searches that brought forth the most relevant and timely content. The ReSearch Engines contain over 4,000 full text journals, periodicals and newspapers. One is able to search by topic or by keyword.
Distance-Educator.com: What are some of the new projects XanEdu is developing for the future?
Mr. Lew Gossage: We recently developed The Bondwoman’s Narrative Educational Companion, a print and multimedia study guide to accompany The Bondwoman’s Narrative by Hannah Crafts, a recently published manuscript, edited by Dr. Henry Lewis Gates that is believed to be the oldest novel written by an Afican-American fugitive slave woman yet found – and the only such work to be uncovered in its original, unedited condition. Designed to complement this historically significant novel, the companion features other works and images of the antebellum period, as well as essays by scholars, historians and original multimedia material for deeper understanding of the novel, time period, and author.
We also recently acquired MetaText, a digital textbook publisher. Our view, in making this important acquisition, is that instructors have very quickly seen the possibilities and potential in customizable digital textbooks. A ‘digital’ version of a traditional textbook is just the first step. As we investigate the needs of instructors we will move more aggressively to working with publishers to allow us to provide the individual chapters, combined with additional content from XanEdu). This acquisition extends our ability to answer a more complete range of educators’ resource needs. In addition, it is important to note that our digital textbooks extend far beyond the concept of a typical e-book. XanEdu digital textbooks allow the user to take online notes at the page level, digitally highlight the text, conduct a full-text search by word or concept, and most importantly use their existing personal computer to access the textbook.
Mr. Lew Gossage is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of XanEdu, a business unit of ProQuest Information and Learning, since December 2000. He heads the development of new products and business development initiatives including CoursePacks™, XanEdu™ Research Engine, XanEdu™ MBA Research Engine, and the XanEdu™ Education ReSearch Engine. Lew and his staff have worked diligently to gain additional content such as cases from Harvard Business School Publishing and the Harvard Business Review.
Mr. Gossage brings many years of experience in higher education publishing to XanEdu. Prior to joining ProQuest Information and Learning, Mr. Gossage was Vice President in charge of new media at McGraw-Hill Higher Education, and Times Mirror Higher Education in Chicago, where he was responsible for online courseware products, new media initiatives, and platform development form 1989 to 1999.
While there, he earned an Outstanding New Media Achievement Award in 1997 along with The Times Mirror Higher Education Group, earning an Innovations Award in 1996. In his off hours, Lew enjoys a hearty game of Polo or a Skeet match to keep his hand and eye coordination finely honed. Lew lives with his wife Susan and their West Highland Terrier, Digby Earl in Ann Arbor,